Home Health Are you worried about 5G? China is already preparing for 6G

Are you worried about 5G? China is already preparing for 6G

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It is still early to take stock of concrete effects that the spread of 5G (the latest generation of mobile data transmission) is having on society, but one thing is certain: China has come out on top from one of the most important technological challenges of recent years. The confirms a Bloomberg analysis, according to which the country “has the largest 5G footprint in the world”, while the Chinese giant Huawei “globally dominates other suppliers”.

In an attempt to remedy what has certainly been experienced as a burning defeat, the United States is betting directly on 6G, the further generation of data transmission which, however, currently exists only on a theoretical level: “This time we must not allow that the opportunity to gain generational leadership is so easily missed, ”said Vikrant Gandhi, head of information technology for consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, also speaking to Bloomberg.

The combative claims that came from the United States (including the memorable tweet with which former President Trump said he wanted “6G as soon as possible”, admitting defeat), collide with a harsh reality: this new technology will not see the light of day before 2030, but already today China has a clear advantage in terms of the number of patents related to fundamental technologies for 6G.

The Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei has analyzed over 20,000 patents, showing that over 40% of these have been deposited by Chinese companies. In spite of US sanctions, Huawei is always the leader, followed by state-owned companies such as the Beijing State Grid Corporation (electrical services) and China Aerospace Science and Technology. Not only that: in November last year, China was the first nation to test, via satellite, the radio waves that could potentially host 6G broadcasts, while Huawei has inaugurated a research center in Canada.

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The analysis

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The difficult run-up of the USA and Europe
The goal of the United States, therefore, starts uphill: the country has in any case filed 35.2% of the patents relating to 6G technologies and made its debut, exactly one year ago, the Next G Alliance (which includes Apple, Google, AT&T, Qualcomm and others) for the purpose of “advancing North American leadership” in data transmission technologies. In third place is Japan with 9.9% of patents, followed by the European Union with 8.9%.

Leading the European efforts is the University of Oulu, Finland (a nation that has always been a pioneer in the field of mobile communication), which has started an eight-year program called 6Genesis in 2018, financed with 251 million dollars thanks also to the contribution of Nokia. The European Union, on the other hand, is directly responsible for research project Hexa-X, again with the massive contribution of Nokia and the participation of Ericsson, Intel, Telefonica, Tim and others.

A bit like what happened with 5G, therefore, China seems to lead the charge to the new technology, closely followed by the United States and with Europe and Japan in the role of would-be troublemakers. But what should we expect from this next generation of communications? As for speed, we are talking about one connection from one terabyte per second (against 10 Gb of 5G and 300 Mb of 4G) with a latency (i.e. the time required for two devices to connect) of 0.1 milliseconds. Which is a tenth of that of 5G.

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What changes from 5G to 6G
And what are we going to do with all this performance? Among the various examples we talk about virtual reality that can be used in high definition even with on the move, di connect the human body to the Internet and our brains (a little as hypothesized by Elon Musk’s Neuralink), to finally give life to fully self-driving cars. These promises, however, appear in some cases follow those already done talking about 5G.

Another aspect that may not please many concerns the infrastructure necessary to spread the signal: being waves with even shorter range than 5G (in the order of terahertz), the networks for the diffusion of the signal they will have to be, as the researchers say, “ultra-dense”, that is, with multiple antennas installed not only in every street, but also in every building. And not only.

This aspect will obviously be analyzed from the health point of view, but it could still increase further the panic that often already envelops (unjustifiably) 5G. However, there is still a long time to go by 2030: to be already disappointed (or to worry about possible repercussions) it is definitely too early. Perhaps.

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